The traditional Japanese art of paper folding – origami – is a great way to show your little ones how something simple – a piece of white or coloured paper – can turn into something practical and useful, or just plain fun.
This article will take you through the steps of some of the easiest traditional origami folds, including some easy origami animals for kids. You might need to help them along at first, but once they get the hang of it you’ll find yourself with a paper menagerie in no time!
You Will Need
- Paper. This is the most important part of origami for kids – you need to make sure that you’re not using heavy paper or card. If the paper is too thick, you won’t be able to make the crisp folds you need. The best thing is to buy origami paper – this is cheaply available from any craft store, and a pack will come in a variety of colours (each sheet usually has a coloured side and a white side). If you can’t get origami paper then regular paper is fine, but if all you have is rectangular A4 sheets you’ll need to cut them into squares before you start – make sure you do this yourself or supervise your little one as they handle scissors!
- Poster paints, felt tips, and glitter – or whatever else you want to decorate your origami shapes with.
How to Make Origami For Kids
For all of the following examples, remember to start with the white side of the paper facing down if using origami paper.
This easy box is a great way to start with simple origami for kids; it takes no time at all to make, and they’ll end up with something useful that they can decorate however they like!
- Start with a square of paper. Fold the paper into quarters. Unfold it, and flip the sheet over so that the white side is facing you.
- Fold the corners of the paper towards the middle point, using the folds you made in step 1 as a guide.
- Fold each vertical edge in towards the central point line, and then fold the top and bottom edges down towards the middle. These folds will shape the main frame of your box, so make sure you crease them firmly.
- Now, unfold them again! Unfold the creases you made in step 3 and the last two folds you made in step 2.
- Now it’s time to assemble your box. Take hold of the corner of the folded-over side of the paper (as shown in the picture above) and reverse-fold it. Do the same with the opposite corner. You should be left with an overhanging flap of paper.
- Fold this flap over the edge of the box and tuck it in as shown. Repeat with the opposite edge.
- Admire your finished box! You can decorate this with poster paints, glitter or crayons, and fill it with anything from marbles to sweets.
The Water Bomb
This can seem like a fiddly thing to make, but it’s actually very simple once you’ve tried it out once or twice, and the first few steps form what’s called the water bomb or water balloon base, which is hugely versatile and can be used to make different types of origami, including origami animals for kids – we’ll be exploring a couple of those later on!
The water bomb itself can be decorated with paint or glitter and hung up; it makes a lovely decoration. (If your paper is sturdy enough you can even try filling them with water and using them for their intended purpose – but make sure you do this outside!)
- Fold the paper in half from top to bottom, and then in half again from right to left.
- Lift up the top half of your paper, open it out a little and carefully press it flat, as shown in the image above. You should be left with a neat triangle.
- Flip the paper over and do the same to the other side. This is the water bomb base.
- Fold the bottom points of each triangle up to the top, then bring the left and right-hand points of the smaller triangle this creates in to the center and crease.
- Fold the top points of the second layer down towards the middle to make two triangular flaps. You’ll find that the creases you made before have made two little pockets that you can tuck the flaps into. This locks the water bomb shut.
- Flip the paper over and repeat steps 4 and 5 on the other side.
- Fold the right-hand side over diagonally, press it flat and unfold. Do the same on the left-hand side. This is just to make the paper a bit more flexible.
- Now it’s time to inflate your balloon! You will find a small hole at the bottom point; blow gently into this, and the paper will inflate into a balloon.
- Decorate and hang up!
Origami Animals for Kids
Now it’s time to use the water bomb base to make some easy origami animals for kids! You should start each of these by folding your paper up to step 5 of the water bomb, so that you have one half of a fully completed water bomb base. This means that each of these animals can be inflated just like the water balloon.
- Start with your half-formed water bomb. Turn the paper over to the unlocked side.
- From top to bottom, fold the right and left-hand sides of the triangle over to lie flat along the middle.
- Fold the bottom left-hand corner outwards so that it lies at a right angle.
- Fold the left-hand side of the paper over the right-hand side. Press the paper flat.
- Inflate your goldfish by blowing into the small hole at the base of the tail.
- Draw some eyes on with a felt tip pen, or stick on googly eyes.
There you have it! Mastering this easy origami for kids will give your little ones a new avenue to express themselves through, as well as showing them that with a bit of concentration and patience you can make something beautiful out of something as simple as a piece of paper.
For more paper crafts, be sure to check out the rest of our articles.